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Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2017 Apr-Jun;39(2):65-76. doi: 10.1590/2237-6089-2016-0039.

Computerized cognitive training in children and adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder as add-on treatment to stimulants: feasibility study and protocol description.

Author information

Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psiquiatria e Ciências do Comportamento, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
Programa de Déficit de Atenção/Hiperatividade (ProDAH), Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA), Departamento de Psiquiatria, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
UFRGS, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis (UNIRITTER), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.

Erratum in

  • Erratum. [Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2017]



Cognitive training has received increasing attention as a non-pharmacological approach for the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents. Few studies have assessed cognitive training as add-on treatment to medication in randomized placebo controlled trials. The purpose of this preliminary study was to explore the feasibility of implementing a computerized cognitive training program for ADHD in our environment, describe its main characteristics and potential efficacy in a small pilot study.


Six ADHD patients aged 10-12-years old receiving stimulants and presenting residual symptoms were enrolled in a randomized clinical trial to either a standard cognitive training program or a controlled placebo condition for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was core ADHD symptoms measured using the Swanson, Nolan and Pelham Questionnaire (SNAP-IV scale).


We faced higher resistance than expected to patient enrollment due to logistic issues to attend face-to-face sessions in the hospital and to fill the requirement of medication status and absence of some comorbidities. Both groups showed decrease in parent reported ADHD symptoms without statistical difference between them. In addition, improvements on neuropsychological tests were observed in both groups - mainly on trained tasks.


This protocol revealed the need for new strategies to better assess the effectiveness of cognitive training such as the need to implement the intervention in a school environment to have an assessment with more external validity. Given the small sample size of this pilot study, definitive conclusions on the effects of cognitive training as add-on treatment to stimulants would be premature.

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